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Celebrating International Women’s Day in Ghana

Organizations should ‘put their monies where their mouth is’

Over the years, women all over the world have and continue to battle for access to equal human rights and responsibilities bereft of gender biases.

While we have made some good strides in various fields such as the right to vote, right to equal pay and compensations, education, to name a few, it is worth noting that there's still some more miles to cover.

Let me first highlight and applaud all forward-thinking organizations that have embraced and promoted this fight in some outstanding ways. These organizations today are very open to recruiting more women who are equally as competent as the men who apply for particular roles which were hitherto a reserve of ‘men only’.

These organizations continue to empower and encourage women to have a relatively fair representation in the boardrooms, top management, the executive and advisory levels and for that, we applaud them, Thank You!

Today as we celebrate International women’s day, I would like to highlight one of the key neglected areas surrounding women economic empowerment; precisely women owned businesses!

As a procurement and supply chain professional with a little over a decade’s experience, I have noted that about 70% percent of businesses that ever approached me to bid for contracts, especially for high-ticket contracts were mostly men-owned businesses

In fact, statistics show that seven out of ten thriving “big” businesses in Africa are owned by men. Here in Ghana data from the registrar general’s department corroborates this narrative.

So, my question then is; why aren’t the big businesses in a field like technology which is largely the biggest spend element of most organizations owned by women? Energy, Automobile Manufacturing, Transport, Oil and Gas, Real Estates, Process and Plants to name a few (feel free to add to this list)

In Ghana most business owned by women are typically small, plagued with less capital because they are unable to provide the traditional collaterals i.e. Landed properties, etc. required to access loans from the financial institutions, and even if they do, the interest on these loans are almost a carnage.

These women-owned businesses basically have no or few employees, they also have to deal with unfavorable market conditions, lack of quality mentorship and business management skills just to name a few.

The pandemic has as well impacted businesses significantly in ways we didn’t imagine.

What is the way forward?

All hands-on deck! We need to rebuild Africa and Africa includes women. Organizations must be more intentional about economically empowering women, so that women can equally contribute to the growth and rebuilding of the African continent. We desire a growth that is more inclusive. Yes, we desire to own landed properties so we can offer them to the banks as collaterals just like men-owned business do. Hello! this is not about taking power, its only us, asking to be treated equally.

Chief Procurement Officers and stakeholders, can you award contracts to women bidders on the same merit score as the men-owned businesses? My experience indicate that women-owned businesses equally have the competence, skill, and necessary resources required for effective execution.

Chief Finance Officer, how much of your company's spend went to a woman-owned business in 2020? A simple spend spool from your accounts payable team should give you a guide. I can almost bet it's less than 40%

Dear CEO, when your organization professes to empower women and women's rights it should go beyond the PR (Public Relations) & marketing fleece. ‘Put your money where your mouth is; empower women economically by awarding high value contracts to women owned business too.

#ichoosetochallenge

#iwd2021

About the Author

Celestine Djane is a procurement and supply chain professional, passionate about rebuilding africa through a well -thought-through, intentional, sustainable and strategic alliance and partnerships within the business sector.

With a career spanning a decade within multinational and local organizations such as Stanbic bank, UMB bank and Capital Bank, Celestine believes empowered women and thriving women businesses are a key requisite to rebuilding Africa

Celestine is currently the lead consultant for Right-Proc Consult, a consulting and advisory firm offering consultancy and advisory services in the areas of cost management, resource optimization, sustainable bottomline growth and leveraging technology as a competitive advantage. She’s also keen procurement knowledge volunteer.

Celestine holds a Master's Degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of science and technology, KNUST, several certifications on procurement and sustainable bottomline policies and programs, including a bachelors degree in administration from the University of professional studies

She promotes the ideology that, in rebuilding africa, organizations and businesses should leverage procurement and supply chain as a tool to building sustainable profits and relevance

Celestine is married and blessed with three children

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